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A large portion of my friends have something that is often just known as "the Gift." It's that uncanny knack for being able to fix anything and everything around them, despite not having a manual.
Unsurprisingly, many of my friends who have "the Gift" are paid pretty handsomely as mechanics. Most of them don't have any student debt, and a handful of them get paid well over $50,000 a year. No matter how you look at it, that's a nice life!
Most people who are mechanics know they have a calling for it, but still struggled with the decision for a while. Not sure if you should be an auto mechanic? Well, you might want to take a look for these promising signs that a good career is waiting for you.
You have no problem getting your hands dirty, nor do you have issue with physical labor.
The biggest drawbacks of a career as a mechanic is the mess you're going to deal with, and the hard physical work you're going to do. This is why being a mechanic isn't for everyone; most people don't want to deal with the gritty work you need to do in the shop.
Are you okay with getting your hands scratched up, or feeling sore every night? If so, you may find some seriously rewarding work as a mechanic.
You're willing to invest in tools—big time.
Being a mechanic means mixed things when it comes to expenses. There's some good news and some bad news for aspiring mechanics who want to know what to expect.
In terms of educational pay, you probably won't have to set aside too much money to get better at your craft. Most major mechanic companies, such as AAA, will have no problem getting their mechanics extra education.
However, just about every garage will expect you to invest in your own tools. Tools can cost anywhere from a couple thousand to upwards of $50,000 depending on what you do.
The good news is that you can write off essential tools every mechanic needs and other expenses come tax time. The bad news is that there is still some startup capital for most people who want to work independently out of a garage. If you're okay with that, you should be an auto mechanic.
You have a natural ability to figure out how to fix things.
You can definitely learn a lot from trade school, but not everything can be taught. The best mechanics are often the ones who have a sixth sense when it comes to figuring out what's broken.
Take a look at your track record. Are you typically the go-to person people talk to when they need something fixed? If you were the type to fix everything from bicycles to washing machines, you should be an auto mechanic.
The work ethic you have is unparalleled.
Make no mistake about it—being a mechanic isn't easy work. It's also not work that you can cut corners in. It's hard work, and not only that, it's often thankless work.
Mechanics often end up getting treated rather poorly by clients who don't get that. If you are willing to deal with it and still work tirelessly to get the job done, then you absolutely are mechanic material.
Heck, even going through trade school and getting ASE certified is a serious chore. The only thing that will get you through all that is a strong work ethic and a little persistence.
Cars fascinate you.
You can't really be a good mechanic without having at least a little passion about cars. Most mechanics I know have serious love for cars, even going so far as to center their career around a specific brand they adore.
It's never a good idea to go into a career you're not interested in. This is especially true if you're going into a field that's notoriously hard on your body and mind. So, if you do decide to be a mechanic, make your love of cars a priority.
You are capable of explaining to people what's wrong, without using big words.
When it comes to cars, most people aren't bright. They don't know what a transmission does. They can't tell you what a ball joint does, nor will they understand why they no longer really need to warm up their cars in the winter. Most people don't even know how long a new set of tires should last!
Mechanics who are very well-paid also act as service writers, which means they're the ones who sell the repair services at the shop. You can't be a good repair salesman unless you're able to convince people that they actually need the repairs.
You're okay with risking injury.
True story—my good friend ended up getting clobbered by a tire that fell off a car. He actually ended up on the shop floor, and if it hit him any harder, he probably would have ended up with a concussion. This is a scarily normal part of life in repair shops.
Risk of injury is a natural part of being a mechanic. You will need to be okay with getting cuts, bruises, and burns in the shop. Don't worry. The benefits they pay to mechanics are very handsome, so you probably won't have to pay out of pocket too much.
You're a 'puzzle' person.
When you were young, did you have a thing for solving puzzles and fixing problems? If so, you should be an auto mechanic! That's basically what mechanics do day after day.
As a mechanic, every single day brings on a new challenge with new puzzles to solve. Not every driver knows car maintenance tips they should, and no two breaks are identical, and that makes your job a constant journey. If that sounds like fun, you'll enjoy being a mechanic more than any other job out there.
The idea of being stuck behind a desk scares you.
Most people are totally content with sitting at a desk 40 hours per week, but not mechanics. Being able to walk around the shop is something that they all enjoy, even if it doesn't seem like it at first glance.
If you love the idea of working in a garage, being able to stretch whenever you need it, and getting action in your life, a mechanic's life is going to be the life you want to live. You will have plenty of exercise, trust me on that!
You're looking for steady work.
Office jobs come and go. Customer service roles are being phased out at a breakneck speed. Insurance sales is quickly becoming an "app-only" thing. Even computer programming jobs are being outsourced.
You know what you can't outsource? Auto repair. You know what is needed everywhere around the world? Auto repair.
In an economy that is increasingly competitive, being a mechanic is a great way to have a steady, recession-proof career. If you're looking for stable income, you should be an auto mechanic.